Updated: Dec 27, 2020
While many see this season as the most magical time of year, the holidays can be especially stimulating or triggering for trauma survivors. People living with Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), anxiety, and depression can find it re-traumatizing or difficult to cope with any of the following circumstances during the holidays.
Memories of loss
Increased threat of domestic abuse
Interactions with family members
Feelings of isolation due to COVID-19
Anxiety, Depression, PTSD, and the Holidays
Those of us with preexisting trauma already knew this, but some with new or worsening symptoms of PTSD may require extra support this year.
Researchers have even presented theories on an emerging new breed of PTSD called, Post-COVID Stress Disorder. Nearly one year into the global pandemic and life has become grade-A exhausting for everyone. But especially for those experiencing severe PTSD, anxiety, and/or depression.
Pandemic imposed isolation has made finding traditional sources of support even more difficult. And many people are sure where to look anyway. So we’ve outlined 5 effective tools for coping during the holidays. This season, or any time really.
The impact of this pandemic and its corresponding stay-at-home orders can have severe consequences for the trauma survivor. While many have flocked to services like FaceTime and Zoom, others have relied upon good ole fashioned snail mail and telephone calls to connect with the community during COVID-19. No matter what, finding a way to connect with the community during this especially difficult holiday season is as essential as toilet paper.
Cannabis specific community groups like Green Goddess Glow, Tree Femme Collective, Tokeativity, and This is Jane Project all seek to provide community on their social platforms, websites, Zoom's, and likely at in-person events once it's safe to gather again.
2. Food Equals Mood
Ever found yourself binge-watching Netflix, with a pint of rocky road ice cream and a spoon after an especially difficult day? Maybe it’s become a coping tool during these especially troubling times? Either way, it’s okay. It’s also a choice we make to get the desired outcome: comfort. What if we were able to change that narrative but substituting healthier options? Nobody is saying to restrict or count anything. Only that studies show mindful eating having a positive effect on one's mental health, across the board. Having a healthier food routine is said to be an important tool for finding balance anytime, but especially now.
3. Proper Rest
We can’t stress this one enough. Sleep is a requirement for your body's organs, cells, and tissues to rest and rejuvenate. It’s also especially important to get proper rest before and after reactivating or triggering events. The holidays during a global pandemic certainly qualifies. Set aside time for a quick power nap. Even if you don’t fall asleep, the quiet time and rest will do your mind a world of good.
4. Conscious Consumption
Conscious consumption is both important and very subjective. Legalization and decriminalization efforts have made Cannabis more accessible, allowing more and more people to choose it as an alternative medicine for their conditions. While conscious consumption is always recommended, it’s important to remember the age-old saying, “to each their own '' as a general rule of thumb.
Consumption methods and dosage amounts can vary greatly from one individual to another. It is important to set an intention before consuming and if you have questions about how to get started with using Cannabis as a tool for wellness, organizations like Club Kindness and Leaf 411 offer free consultation services and supportive programming. There's also, Balancing Cannabis, a growing Instagram page that offers weekly cannabis meditations on Monday's at 6 PM PST and a FREE guided meditation on YouTube for those curious about how to incorporate cannabis into your mindfulness or meditation practice.
5. Do You, Boo.
Above all, if there is one thing you can do that will positively impact your holiday + pandemic experience, it is to simply do you, Boo. Focus on yourself. Only then are we able to show up as friends, partners, parents, and community members. “Doing you” also means being honest with yourself about the state of your mental health. Do what you can and ask for what you need.